Post Abortion Recovery Ministry in the Former Soviet Union
Carolyn Rice grew up on Glassy Mountain in northern Greenville County in a Christian camp called Lookup Lodge that her parents operated. Her father also conducted seminars in Eastern Europe.
Carolyn attended Travelers Rest and Blue Ridge High Schools and graduated from Blue Ridge. She lived in Washington, D. C. until 1993.
Her parents, Max and Vivian Rice conducted Christian camps and retreats at Lookup Lodge for 30 years. Carolyn made her first trip to Russia in 1993 for her father, to teach biblical counseling. After that, she made several trips to the Ukraine teaching Christian counseling at retreats. For some time, she made regular trips to the Ukraine.
“It was the Christian camping organization that sponsored our first post abortion seminars in the Ukraine. And from there it just exploded.”
“Because I had worked at the Piedmont Women’s Center here (in Greenville), I would just talk for 5 minutes during Biblical counseling about abortion and how it impacts the family. I would tell them that 90 percent of your kids at camp have grown up in a family with a post abortive father and mother and here is how abortion impacts family relationships.
“That would be all I would say about abortion. Then I would have women come up after the meeting telling me about their abortions and needing help.
“For the next few years, I was traveling with the Christian Counseling organization, but getting more and more into post abortion counseling, because it was such a problem over there.
In 2003, I moved to Russia and lived there for a year studying the Russian language.”
From 2004 to 2008, she traveled 8 or 9 months of the year mostly to countries bordering Russia and part of the old former Soviet Union. “I would return to the states 3 times a year for a few weeks.” she said.
In July of 2008, Carolyn moved to Georgia. The Russians invaded Georgia the following month. They practiced ethnic cleansing and set about to kill all of the Georgians in a certain area of the country. Those who escaped death left all their possessions behind. Some 200,000 refugees from the Russian invasion and ethnic cleansing currently reside in a refugee village in the Capitol City.
Asked why she selected Georgia of all the Eastern European countries she had visited, Carolyn gave two reasons:
“I really fell in love with the Georgian people. They are very hospitable and they love Americans.
“The other thing is that there is very little mission work going on in Georgia, especially for women.”
She said there are many missionaries in the Ukraine and Rumania, but few in Georgia. “I don’t know why,” she said. Maybe it is because of difficulty arranging direct flights at a reasonable price, although she said no passport is required and you just walk in. It may also be related to the threats from Russia. She noted that the Russian troops never did withdraw to their original boundaries.
There is no Muslim problem in Georgia. About 10 percent of the population is Muslim, but they reside in the mountains and on the Turkish border and are mostly secular.
Carolyn speaks the language, but uses an interpreter when conducting classes.
She attends an international non-denominational church in the Capitol City. She has found that denomination labels tend to create unnecessary walls that make acceptance and communication more difficult. Only about 1 percent of churches in Georgia are Protestant. The Orthodox Church has a strong hold on the people of Georgia. The church must approve literature pertaining to religion. Otherwise, members are afraid to accept it. Active members will not attend a seminar or meeting without approval of their priest. Church leaders tell women who have abortions that they cannot be completely forgiven. It is very difficult to convince the older Orthodox members that Christ can forgive any sin if there is repentance.
Asked if she feels safe in Georgia, Carolyn responded in the affirmative. She said the president elected in 2004 had improved public safety and reduced crime and “neighbors look out for each other.”
She said the churches filled up during the Russian invasion of Georgia and they are still full and some standing outside and listening to loudspeakers during services eight years later. She said it is much different than the behavior of Americans after 9/11 when churches filled for a few weeks and then people went back to their old ways.
“The Georgian people are searching, but they are not finding answers in the Orthodox Church, and because of their church teachings, it is hard for them to accept the Bible as the Word of God. It took me two years in developing relationships before I could get an Orthodox member to come to something.”
“My neighbors thought I was crazy for taking in a girl who was pregnant, unmarried and kicked out by her parents.” They had a hard time understanding why she would do that. Through such acts of kindness, she demonstrates that she has something they are lacking and eventually desire. But it is slow. “A lot of what I do is developing relationships,” she explained.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the first missionaries who came to Georgia paid for everything and spent a lot of money. They still expect Americans to spend money for things. Carolyn is teaching them how to raise their own funds, since she has limited resources.
Carolyn came back to the states to care for her ailing father following the death of her mother. Her father is now deceased and she is returning to Georgia this week.
She will be going into a new apartment built onto a Georgian friend’s house with a private entrance. Later in the fall she will be traveling to Rumania to teach people from Russia to conduct post-abortion recovery seminars.
What do you do for medical care in a socialist country, she was asked? “I wait until I get back here,” was her answer. She was flown to Russia a few years ago for emergency surgery.
Carolyn recently signed a contract with the Piedmont Women’s Center and her support from churches and individuals will go through them.
Her support currently comes from Southside Christian Fellowship and First Presbyterian Church of Greenville and several individuals. She is expecting support from other churches in the near future.
Anyone wishing to support the Carolyn Rice ministry may contact the Piedmont Women’s Center for additional information. She would especially appreciate the prayers of Christians who have a burden for the unborn, regardless of nationality.